Blog of Dreams: SEO for Boosting Traffic
There’s no “If you build it, they will come” on the internet. If you want a successful blog, you have to build it and then bring “them” to it, even if they’re kicking and screaming.
Truthfully, you probably aren’t going to be able to drag people to your website if they don’t want to go. So you have to make them want to. How?
Let’s look at the most visited websites online
They’re big names, of course. Google. Facebook. Twitter. Ebay. Amazon. Looking at the most popular websites show us people’s reasons for being online: To find information, to socialize, and to make/spend money. That makes sense. So now we need to use this information to our advantage.
What is your blog’s purpose? Do you want to provide information? Sell a product? Connect people with others of like interests? Perhaps a combination of all of the above?
Focus is always good because it prevents people from having to make choices. At the same time, why go to three grocery stores when you can find everything you need at one? If you’re providing multiple services though, you have to make sure all of the services are of a high caliber. If you offer great advice, but a sub-par product, people may read your content, but you’re not going to make much off of sales.
This is all beginning conceptual stuff though. Maybe you have already your site figured out. You just need to draw people to it. How do you do that? Below I have listed several popular traffic gaining tactics and will explore their pros and cons.
The first thing to recognize when you’ve finished designing your blog is that your website is never finished. You have to keep adding content in order to maintain interest. Even if people like your content, they’re not going to return every day if there’s nothing new for them to find.
The benefit of keeping your website fresh is that you’re also building an archive for new users to explore once they find you. It keeps your website relevant and keeps you constantly on the lookout for new things to post.
The downside is, of course, that this is a lot of work. Creating a new video, writing an article, or even altering a humorous image every week takes time. But if you’re not willing to put time into your blog, your visitors won’t be either.
The best way to draw in an audience is to go out and find them. Go out and find blogs that are similar to yours. Participate in their communities. Comment on articles, join forums- do what it takes to make yourself a familiar face (or name) to people on that site. This will not only put your name out there for readers, but will also make your name recognizable to the blog owner. Fellow bloggers are your best resource for gaining an audience and getting invited to niche-related events.
In a discussion about web traffic, you can’t ignore ads. Pay-Per-Click ads are popular as you only have to pay if they work. If people don’t visit your site, then you don’t lose anything. The risk comes in when people visit your site, but that doesn’t convert to anything useful for you. If they click and then leave immediately then you’ve paid for basically nothing. Make sure that your PPC ads lead to pages that will convert to purchases and other useful contributions.
Domain Name Strategy
Since the internet is essentially a bunch of numbers and equations, people are always looking for the perfect formula to game the system without doing actual work. So they buy up keyword rich domain names, or domain names that are similar to popular sites. They then coast off of accidental traffic and link back to their other websites to look relevant to search engines.
Google’s expressed that they frown on these practices and are taking active steps to make them less successful. If you’re going after these “shortcut” tactics, you’re not focusing on providing quality, and not only will it not pay off in the long run, but you’re also more likely to be penalized in the search engines results.
Reference other people’s stuff
The best advertising is advertising you don’t do. Word of mouth is free. So it’s great when other people link to you without being asked. Since you’d love it so much, you can bet they will as well. So reference other blogs where you get your information. Link back to articles you find helpful or interesting. Share other people’s photos with a link back to their site. If they are paying attention to their backlinks, they will notice this and maybe even repay in kind. You can also utilize pingbacks and trackbacks to let them know you’ve linked to them.
Content is supposed to draw people to your blog, but if they’re not on your site, they’re not reading your content. So the trick is to post content on other people’s websites. Find blogs with a similar audience to your target audience and ask if they’d be open to a guest post. Maybe they’ll be interested. Maybe they’ll want an exchange. Maybe they’ll ignore you. But if you’ve built authority by being an active community member, you’re more likely to see success.
There are two downsides to guest posting. The first is the sheer amount of time it takes. You have to find sites to guest post on, outreach to the site owners, research and write the article, edit it to the site owner’s preferences, and then wait for it to be posted.
You also have to write for another blog, which means you have to get the tone of the post right, and still you’re subject to the whim of the blog owner. They can change your piece, take out your links, and add their own photos.
That being said, if you choose quality sites to post on, they will most likely have their requirements clearly outlined, and hopefully have a process they go through to deal with guest posts efficiently. The exposure makes it worth your time.
Share with Your Audience- Even if that’s just your mom
The reason that social media is so big is that people are more likely to look at stuff their friends share. So even if you have a relatively small facebook or twitter following, it is worth sharing your content. They might share it with other people, gaining you viewers. It also ensures that you’re active on your social media accounts, which people will look at before adding you. In order to gain a larger following, act like you already have one.
There are a lot of ways to gain traffic. Some of them are worth it, others border on scammy. What are practices that you’ve seen work? Have you seen any methods that you didn’t like? Discuss in the comments below.
Author bio: Jeriann Watkins is a writer living in Boise, Idaho. She enjoys writing about many subjects, including white-hat SEO and new advances in internet technology. She currently works for Page One Power, a relevancy first link building company